Red Cat Adventures roars into finals of Telstra Business Awards
The moment Julie and Asher Telford took the plunge into the Whitsunday charter boat scene, they knew the opportunities for business were endless. What they didn’t know however was that seven years later they would be finalists in the Queensland Telstra Business Awards.
The couple, whose company specialises in giving visitors from around the world the adventure of a lifetime in the Whitsunday islands on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, had been encouraged to enter the awards in January 2018. Seeing the potential to be recognised among the nation’s most innovative and entrepreneurial talent, they poured their heart and souls into the submission. Already Gold winners in the categories for Best Tour and Transport Operator and Best Adventure Tourism Product at the 2017 Whitsunday Tourism Awards, the chance to compete with non-tourism-related businesses was a driving force. “It was about going business to business – and not necessarily in the same category – we’re up against people whose operations are totally different to ours so it’s a really objective view of how we’re doing,” Julie said.
Discovering this week they had made the cut as one of six Queensland finalists in an awards process attracting 10,000 nominations Australia-wide, the Telford’s described themselves as “pretty proud”. “When you hear those numbers you realise what a massive achievement it is – and just to be representing the Whitsundays and Queensland – it’s a huge benefit for us all,” Julie said.
Asked what they thought it was about their business that really set them apart, technology was one of the factors that sprang to mind. Expanding their fleet from the first sailing catamaran ‘Tongarra’ the Telford’s custom-built high-speed ‘Thundercat’ performed so well at sea they found themselves building an identical sister ship within three months. Admitting somewhat of an obsession with leveraging technology to maximise the efficiency of the fleet, Asher believes innovation is one of the key factors keeping Red Cat at the head of the pride. “But it’s also about teamwork – our business is a democratic workplace; we think everyone in the company has something to bring to the table and we encourage them to do so,” he said.
With their bold red branding, a passion that emanates from the top down and collaborative marketing with not just the Telford’s other business venture ‘Paradise Cove Resort’ but also the Whitsundays’ marine, tourism, wedding, conference and events industries, winning the Telstra Business Awards would be just the next step. “We’ve spent the last six months making sure the foundations of our business are really solid and now we’re ready to take off,” Asher said.
The Queensland State Final will be held on Friday, July 19, with the National Final on September 20th.
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